Local attorney wants to change how juvenile sex offenders regist - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Local attorney wants to change how juvenile sex offenders register

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BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

If you look up sex offenders online you're hit with hundreds of names, addresses and photos.

The current sex offender registry includes juvenile sex offenders and trial lawyer Richard S. Jaffe wants to see that changed.

"I think it should be an individual basis. I also think that if a person demonstrates rehabilitation and successful treatment that they shouldn't have to register for the rest of their lives," said Jaffe.

He said studies have shown a person's brain doesn't mature until between 22 and 25 years of age. Jaffe believes juvenile sex offenders can be rehabilitated.

"I'm not saying that a 15-year-old shouldn't be held accountable for their actions but at the same time there's a limit to the type of punishment and the extent of punishment that anybody should have to undergo," said Jaffe.

Right now Jaffe is working a case involving an offender who is now 19-years-old.

He said when his client was 14 he was playing a game with some other teens and ended up being charged and convicted of a sex crime. Now he is registered as a sex offender.

His father talked to FOX6 News about his son's conviction. He wanted to remain anonymous but said before all this happened he was fine with the way the laws were laid out.

"I was one of those people until this happened to us. And I will say this, I will never see a news story or read an article and automatically believe someone is guilty," he said.

If the law doesn't change he said it could mean an ill future for his son who he believes was wrongly convicted.

"It's going to affect him in many ways. His career, his personal life. And even if he's fortunate enough to marry and have children I mean he would never be able to even coach his kids ball teams," said the teens' father.

Jaffe wanted to emphasize that all cases are different and each one should be handled that way.

FOX6 News reached out to Chief Deputy Randy Christian with Jefferson County Sheriff's Office for his input.

He said the department works very hard to make Alabama's law one of the toughest in the country and obviously they want it to stay that way.

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